Alliance consultancy services

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The Alliance leads on the delivery of quality specialist early years resources for practitioners on all aspects of provision – from our leading publications, training offers and information service to our online advice and guidance. 

However, there are times when only 1:1 support will do.

We recognise many providers require focused support to meet their business needs.

Our consultancy service offers personal support and advice on a wide range of early years topics.

Our consultants are experts in their fields with wide experience and in-depth knowledge of policy and practice in the sector.

Our consultancy packages can be tailored to suit your requirements.

Meet our experts...

Mel PilcherMelanie Pilcher: Quality and Standards Manager

Melanie has worked in the early years and childcare sector for 25 years, with over 12 years at the Alliance.

Previously working for local authorities and the NHS, Mel shares her expertise to ensure the best outcomes for children.

Consultations with Melanie include:

  • Policies and procedures
  • Ofsted inspections




Nicola GibsonNicola Gibson: Inclusion Manager 

Nicola has over 30 years’ experience as an early years inclusion expert and SENCO, working in local government, specialist agencies and settings. 

She has developed Alliance publications and training programmes on all aspects of equality and inclusion. She also leads on developing Alliance policy and practice relating to SEND and children’s behaviour. 

Consultations with Nicola include:

  • Identifying and addressing behaviour consultancy 
  • SEND and inclusion consultancy 


MelanieConsultations with Melanie Pilcher

  • Policies and procedures

  • Ofsted inspections

Click on the consultation titles below to see what Melanie can offer you and your business

Policies and procedures

Policies and procedures consult

Having an expert, third party involved in the development or review of your policies and procedures is useful; ‘fresh eyes’ often identify omissions or suggest amendments that strengthen your statements, practice and outcomes. 

We offer two consultancy options; either two hours of consultancy to discuss a particular area of practice or policy, or a full review of your current policies and procedures. 

1. Policies and procedures partial review: (two hours)

A two-our online consultation that focuses on one or two policy areas and explores in detail your provision’s approach to essential issues such as safeguarding*, GDPR, risk assessments, health and safety etc. Verbal advice and guidance are provided. No report is produced. 

* please note that we cannot advise on specific safeguarding incidents.

2. Policies and procedures comprehensive reivew (six hours): 

Full review of your policies and procedures: A comprehensive six-hour review of all your policies and procedures with annotations made to electronic or paper copies. Post-review, there is further opportunity to discuss amendments and the rationale for them. For most providers a day is sufficient to undertake a policy and procedure review. Post-review, the provider can also request follow-up support to evaluate progress. 

Book a Policies and procedures consultation


Ofsted inspections

Ofsted inspections consult

Few aspects of early years practice have more long-term implications for the sustainability of your provision than a positive Ofsted inspection.

Preparation is essential to manage the process as effectively as possible.

To help plan and prepare for Ofsted inspections*, two consultancy service options are available.

1. Preparing for your next Ofsted inspection partial consultancy

Our two-hour online or phone consultancy focuses on the issues of inspection that matter to you. It will enable you to talk through an aspect of concern you may have in preparation for an inspection; providing a valuable process leading to creative proposals for change. 

2. Preparing for your next Ofsted inspection comprehensive consultancy 

Our comprehensive consultation will be delivered over 12 hours, across two days: one for preparation and one for delivery.  

Making sure your provision is as ‘Ofsted-ready’ as it can be is always helped by having an objective assessment against the inspector’s Education Inspection Framework criteria. 

We adhere closely to Ofsted’s approach; from the pre-Inspection phone call to the verbal feedback session. 

With greater emphasis than ever placed by inspectors on discussions with practitioners, the consultation will strengthen your and your team’s confidence to manage their interactions with the inspector. 

This includes preparation, delivery, joint observations and providing additional evidence when required. 

* The Alliance’s Ofsted preparation consultancy services cannot guarantee an Outstanding or Good judgment at any future Ofsted inspection. 

Book an Ofsted inspections consultation



Consulations with Nicola Gibson

  • Identifying and addressing behaviour
  • SEND and inclusion consultancy 

Click on the titles below to see how Nicola can help you in your work

Identifying and addressing behaviour 

Identifying and addressing behaviour consult

An opportunity to share concerns and explore influencing factors which may be impacting on behaviour in your setting, either generally or in relation to the meeting the needs of a specific child.  

This three-hour consultation allows time for feedback from the pre-assessment check which the setting completes prior to the consultation. 

This information provides a contextual background for the subsequent consultation conversation where concerns are explored.

The session will carefully consider and explore a wide range of possible causative factors until a consensus reached on probable cause/s. 

Verbal guidance on next steps will provide  cost effective practical solutions. 

Consideration is also given to the roles and responsibilities of third-party agencies. 

Book an Identifying and addressing behaviour consultation

SEND and inclusion consultancy 

SEND and inclusion consultancy 

An opportunity to review the provider’s approach to SEND, focusing on any specific concerns around inclusive practice – particularly in relation to children with additional needs. 

The two-hour consultation will review and address practice concerns and offer guidance on best ways to support individual children’s learning and development requirements. 

Advice will also be shared on sourcing suitable resources, external funding and support for individual children, their family and early years provision. 

The consultation services provide verbal advice and guidance. No report is produced.  

Book a SEND and inclusion consultation



Alliance consultancy services enquiry form

If you have any questions about the consultancy services offered please let us know below and one of our advisers will get back to you to discuss your query. Thank you.